Floating islands

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This classic dessert has had a twist added to it by Dolly Parton for the 2013 Macmillan Little Book of Treats recipe. Her 'islands in the stream' dessert has a delicious chocolate stream for the meringue islands to float in and is drizzled with a cheeky chocolate sauce. The Little Book of Treats is produced by Macmillan Cancer Support and 100% of the proceeds go towards helping people affected by cancer.


  1. To make the stream, combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt in the bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat until creamy. Stir in the milk and cream.

  2. Pour the mixture into a heavy based pan and cook over a low heat for five to eight minutes, stirring constantly until the custard begins to coat the back of a spoon. Add the melted chocolate, blend it in thoroughly, and pour into a chilled bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  3. While the stream is chilling, make the islands. Bring a large pan of water to simmer. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly until the egg whites form a stiff meringue.

  4. Use a large spoon to scoop up the meringue, making a vague egg shape, and slide into the simmering water. Do not allow the water to heat beyond simmering, or the islands will fall apart. Poach each meringue for two minutes on each side and transfer the islands to paper towels.

  5. To make the chocolate sauce, whisk together the cocoa and sugar in a small heavy based pan. Whisk in the cold water. Bring the mixture to boil, then simmer for four minutes. Add the butter, stirring for another five minutes. Whisk in the salt.

  6. Spoon the chocolate stream into bowls and serve with the islands on top. Drizzle with more chocolate sauce.

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